SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport is ramping up it’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Certainly we’ve ramped up our testing,” Dr. G.E. Ghali, LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor, said. “We’ve increased our capacity by 60 percent right off the bat of number of ICU beds that we have.”

The increased testing is thanks to the new Emerging Viral Threat Lab at the hospital. Before it took almost a week to get results back. Now, they can get results in less than 48 hours, which frees resources.

“We can move the negative patients out of an isolation room, which makes the isolation room available for the patients that actually are COVID positive,” Dr. Ghali said, “and also if we can determine if they’re negative or positive, we would not need as much PPE or Personal Protective Equipment.”

Dr. Ghali is trying to flatten the curve. One way to do that, is through the phrase you’ve probably heard over the last few weeks. Social distancing.

“The Governor’s stay at home order, that has been extended through next month, is really critical,” Dr. Ghali said, “and it follows the federal guidelines as well.”

One of the reason why social distancing, or physical distancing as Dr. Ghali calls it, is so important is how fast this virus can spread. That’s why following the guidelines is so important. It buys the medical professionals some much needed time.

“We’re learning more and more about this virus everyday, but the reality is that we know nothing about this virus compared to what we’ll know about this virus 6 months or a year down the road.”